I bought this car three days ago and have put just over 100miles on it so this is truely a first impressions review. We bought this car to replace a small SUV. We needed gas mileage over space and this seemed like a really good option. The engine: with the 2.5 liter you push on the gas and it really responds. I did an extended test drive of the 2.0 engine and while it had good excelleration the sweet spot seemed to always be lagging. The 2.5 is a vast improvement and if your budget allows it's a must have. Smooth acceleration and quite a bit of kick for a 4 cyl. Is it going to keep up with the small hatches that have turbo chargers or 300hp. No, but if you want that you're probably looking at other cars, for a bit more money. The interior: we bought the Grand Touring with most options and while the layout is different from your normal car I can already see that it is achieving Mazdas goal of keeping your eyes on the road. With the controls to most everything down on the console instead of on the dash you can manipulate the Nav and radio mostly by touch. It's very intuitive and has a smart phone/iPhone style interface. The heads up display seemed a bit of overkill but I've already began to love it. If Mazda could of added preset driver recognition so you didn't manually have to change it every time a new driver got in that would be great but it takes 10 seconds to manipulate it. The leather is way nicer then you would expect from a mid-level hatch and the cars interior screams quality. With automatic everything; rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, even automatic door locks with the smart key this car stands out and it has heated seats! The voice activated feature seems to work really well, the 7in touchscreeb is very easy to see and the 9speaker Bose stereo has sounded great. Ours has Nav but that wasn't a selling point. In today's world most of us are carrying Nav in our pockets but it's easy to use. The Exterior: the styling is very eye catching. We have the eternal blue mica and it really pops! We had a choice of this or white and the blue just made me look longer. With nicely tinted Windows it has great lines and The 18in rims are nice, some may want to upgrade but you won't need to. If you buy a lesser trim level with steel wheels it's a must the stock Mazda wheels kill the look of this car, but work within your budget. The ride in my opinion is on par for this kind of car. Will It feel like a SUV, no, your driving on low profile tires so you feel the road but it's reasonable for a car of this type. The one thing I didn't love was the cargo space floor. Typically the spare is under the cargo area and it is in this as well. Most cars have a piece or thin fabric covered wood or plastic between and it gives the cargo area a solid floor. This has a thick fabric that sit directly on styrofoam that surrounds the spare. It just feels cheap. I may try and add somthing in between to firm it up. Overall this car meets our needs and was in our budget. I'm looking forward to lower gas usage and long term reliability.
Love our Mazda 3 overall with only one big exception -- more to follow on that. My wife and I bought the Mazda 3 for a commuting car. Love the peppy little 2.0 engine -- it routinely gets 40mph back and forth to work, it handles very well and it is very fun to drive. The road noise for a small car is low, which is quite amazing and the seats are very comfortable. The only issue I CANNOT STAND is the disabling of the touch screen while driving. I have a RAM 1500 truck that has a great touch screen that works during driving and is very easy to use. Mazda, in the name of safety, disables the touch screen while in motion and makes you use a terrible interface that makes dialing a phone or plugging an address into the NAV system a huge chore. My wife is usually with me during commutes but this system is not smart enough to know someone is in the passenger seat so they can use the touch screen. The interface is TERRIBLE and it takes a lot more concentration than just using a touch screen because you have to use a dial to "type in" an address or phone number. Reminds me of the old rotary phones from the 1950's. HORRIBLE interface and I wish they would fix it (easy software fix). I may not have purchased this car if I knew how much this would annoy me.
Lots of improvements over the Mazda Protege5 (shifter, noise/comfort levels, interior feel, engine, fuel economy, etc.) and I almost bought it. The hangup was despite the larger cargo capacity number on the 2017 Mazda3 hatchback, I could easily fit my kids two hockey bags in the old Mazda, but not the new one.